Apple's progress in 3D sensing design and mass production is 1.5 to 2 years ahead of Qualcomm's, according to a new investor's note released today by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo believes that Qualcomm is behind in both software and hardware development for 3D sensing, and won't be able to ship the technology until 2019. As Qualcomm is the "most engaged" company when it comes to 3D sensing components for Android devices, Android smartphones could lag behind Apple devices for some time.

iphone8dummymodeldesign

An iPhone 8 dummy depicting the location of the front-facing camera and 3D sensors

While Qualcomm has excelled in designing advanced application processors and baseband solutions, it lags behind in other crucial aspects of smartphone applications like dual-camera (many Android phones have instead adopted solutions used to simulate optical zoom from third-party vendors such as Arcsoft (US)) and ultrasonic fingerprint scanner (while a new reference design has been released, there is no visibility on mass production). So while Qualcomm is the most engaged company in the R&D of 3D sensing for the Android camp, we are conservative as regards progress toward significant shipments and don't see it happening until 2019F.

According to Kuo, Qualcomm is dealing with immature algorithms and an unfavorable hardware reference design for smartphones due to form factor design and thermal issues. Qualcomm may also be impacted by Apple's choice of suppliers. Many key component suppliers have already allocated resources to Apple, so Qualcomm has to find different suppliers in order to obtain sufficient resources. Kuo also outlines the suppliers each company is using:

applequalcomm3dsensinghardwarecomparison
In general, Kuo says the "Android camp" appears to be taking a wait-and-see approach to 3D sensing, which also does not bode well for Qualcomm's 3D sensing technology. Android manufacturers are said to be waiting to see how Apple will use 3D sensing and whether it will offer an "innovative user experience" with features like facial recognition.

Xiaomi's 2018 flagship device is said to be the only potential adopter of Qualcomm's 3D sensing technology, and if the OLED iPhone doesn't see positive feedback following launch, Kuo believes Xiaomi may drop the project.

Apple is rumored to be introducing a front-facing camera with 3D sensing functionality that will enable a new facial recognition system to replace Touch ID, which the company could not build under the display of the device due to production issues. Apple's "iPhone 8" with 3D sensors is expected to debut in just a couple of weeks.

Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

Nozuka Avatar
58 months ago
Same story as Touch ID: the competition is behind.

But then again, Apple is behind in a lot of stuff as well.
In other words: Competition is great.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
filmantopia Avatar
58 months ago
It's going to be great. Once we get Face ID, we won't be looking back.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JohnApples Avatar
58 months ago
I’m still not convinced this will replace Touch ID, and I haven’t seen this question asked. How the hells am I supposed to use this feature when it’s pitched black in my room at night?
Really? You haven't seen that question asked? It's probably the most-asked question about FaceID here on MR.

But to answer your question: infrared. Doesn't matter how pitch black it is, infrared will be able to detect your face. Some smartphones/laptops already have this I believe.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Karma*Police Avatar
58 months ago
I'm sure Samsung is not behind.... they will have it next year although they were first to introduce some type of facial detection anyways.

I still feel Iris scanning is more secure in combo with fingerprint reader.
Why would you think Samsung isn't behind when just a few years ago, Apple leapfrogged everyone's fingerprint sensors by 2-3 years. Just because a crude form of face detection is available today, doesn't mean they have a secure, user-friendly, reliable version right around the corner.

I'm not saying you're wrong since no one knows for sure, but your logic is definitely flawed... especially since Samsung has a poor track record with security; their iris scanner was recently hacked, for example, and their face detection was hacked almost immediately.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
McFlyOz Avatar
58 months ago
It's going to be great. Once we get Face ID, we won't be looking back.
Until we get BackID and then we’ll have to do that.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Piggie Avatar
58 months ago
By definition, infrared light is invisible to human eye. That's why it's called "Infra" (lower-than) "red". So no it won't be visible to you even in the dark.

You shouldn't think of it in terms of a "night vision camera", it will more than likely won't work like that.

Everything points to the FaceID tech being equivalent to a miniaturized Kinect. Apple bought PrimeSense (makers of the first Xbox Kinect) several years ago, and the HomePod firmware contains references to an IR projector.

The Kinect works by projecting an infrared pattern of seemingly random dots. An infrared camera captures an image of the projected dot pattern, which is deformed by the shape of the object(s) it's projected on. An algorithm then analyzes the deformations vs. the expected pattern and recreates a depth map where each point has a depth value.

So FaceID will likely work by analyzing your face topology, which should work exactly the same in the dark.
I will be interesting to see how much of your face it needs to have a clear shot of to work.
Clothing covering part of your face.
Hair covering part of your face.
Various types of glasses/sun glasses.
Facial jewelry being there or not.

Of course it won't work at all if you have some kind of halloween costume / makeup on.

Going to be interesting to see.

It's got to be both:

Lax enough not to be a pain and keep rejecting things YOU do.
Yet secure enough to not pass someone/something that looks like you.

That's a tricky combination to pull off.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Upcoming Products 2022 Feature

Gurman: Apple Preparing 'Widest Array of New Hardware Products in Its History' for Fall

Sunday January 23, 2022 10:32 am PST by
Apple is working on a number of new products that are set to launch this fall, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that it will be "the widest array" of new devices that Apple has introduced in its history. In his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explains that Apple is working on four new flagship iPhones (iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max), an updated low-end Ma...
Questionable Design Decisions

Apple's Most Questionable Design Decisions in Recent Memory

Sunday January 23, 2022 2:59 am PST by
Apple has always emphasized the depth of thought that goes into the design of its products. In the foreword to Designed by Apple in California, a photo book released by the company in 2016, Jony Ive explains how Apple strives "to define objects that appear effortless" and "so simple, coherent and inevitable that there could be no rational alternative." But every once in a while even Apple...
macbook pro 14 16 2021

Three Months After Launch, Apple Still Struggling to Meet Demand for Redesigned 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pro

Monday January 24, 2022 7:12 am PST by
Three months after their launch, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros continue to experience high demand and seemingly short supply, with shipping dates for both models stretching into multiple weeks in several of Apple's key markets. In the United States, the baseline 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro chip is estimated to ship in three to four weeks, promising an arrival by at least...
att gigabit internet

AT&T Bringing $180/Month 5-Gigabit Internet to 70 Cities

Monday January 24, 2022 9:20 am PST by
AT&T today announced the launch of upgraded AT&T Fiber plans, which support speeds of up to 5 Gigabits for some customers. There are two separate plans, one "2 GIG" plan and one "5 GIG" plan, available to new and existing AT&T Fiber subscribers. According to AT&T, the new plans are available to nearly 5.2 million customers across 70 metro areas including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, San...
airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
AirPods Pro Gen 3 Mock Feature ugly yellow

AirPods Pro 2 Could Beat AirPods Max Sound Quality

Monday January 24, 2022 2:15 am PST by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro could deliver higher fidelity audio than the AirPods Max over-ear headphones, despite being comparatively small in-ear buds, recent reports have suggested. In a recent note to investors, seen by MacRumors, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that the second-generation AirPods Pro will offer improved audio quality thanks to support...
iCloud Bug Feature Green

Developers Unhappy With Bug Causing iCloud Unreliability

Monday January 24, 2022 10:15 am PST by
A number of developers are upset with an increasingly problematic iCloud server issue that is causing some apps that have implemented iCloud support to fail to sync properly. As outlined on the Developer Forums and on Twitter, there are CloudKit connectivity issues that have been occurring since November. Some users of apps that have iCloud support built in are seeing the following message:...
top stories 2022jan22

Top Stories: Spring Apple Event Rumors, Apple Opposes Sideloading, and More

Saturday January 22, 2022 6:00 am PST by
As we roll into the latter half of January, we're starting to hear more about a potential spring Apple event, which is likely to take place in March or April. There are a number of potential announcements on deck, so an event would be a good opportunity for Apple to get them all out there. We've also been going back and forth on some iPhone 14 rumors, and we've taken a look at a number of...